Although generally safe you should be aware of the sea conditions between May and October as the southwest monsoon can cause strong currents that are hazardous to swimmers.
Also be on the watch for jet skis and speed boats. Swimming only areas are rarely marked off and jet skis can be hired cheaply with no experience or training required.
Thai culture is based on respect and there is none higher than that in which the Royal Family is held. Always show them great respect and stand if the Thai national anthem is played.
The head is considered sacred in Thailand so never touch the head of a Thai or pass an object over it. Also remember to remove your shoes when entering a building that contains a Buddha.
Foreign visitors are required to carry ID at all times. For most people this would be their passport but it is obviously impractical to carry one at all times.
Many travellers make a colour photocopy of their passport photo page and entry stamp page. This will usually be enough and even if there is a problem it will be far less than if you lose or have your passport stolen.
Passports must be valid for at least six months at time of entry to the country.
The main religion in Thailand is Thervada Buddhism meaning the Doctrine of the Elders. Daosim is also practised by many in Phuket alongside Buddhism. This comes from the many Chinese immigrants who came to work in the tin mines during the 19th century.
There is also a number of mosques in Phuket to take care of the 35% of the local population who are Muslims.
This traditional Thai greeting is used to greet people and to say thank you and goodbye. Although many Thais are now familiar with the western style handshake the wai is the greeting with which they will feel most comfortable.
The wai is carried out like this: place the palms of your hands together close to your chest and then slowly lower your head.
It is customary in Thailand to remove your shoes before entering a house. Sometimes the custom extends to shops and offices.
You can usually tell if you need to remove your shoes if there is a collection of shoes outside the entrance.
Taking money from a cash machine is much the same as when you are at home – except the instructions will be in Thai. However, most machines will have a sign pointing to the English menu.
Charges for the currency conversion from an ATM will depend on your home bank – either a percentage or a standard fee – and the best exchange rates will be with your debit card.
If you plan to rent a vehicle from a reputable company in Phuket you should bring an international driving license. It is best to rent from a proper company to ensure the vehicle is in good condition and you are covered by insurance.
Take things slowly – traffic in Thailand drives on the left hand side but interpretation of the rules of the road can be erratic at best. Never drive under the influence of alcohol and if in doubt just take a local taxi.
The electricity supply in Thailand – 200 volts at 50hz – is compatible with electric devices sold in most countries including the United Kingdom.
For those travellers whose devices are not compatible, voltage converters can be purchased cheaply at most international airports.